TG4419 : The new bridge at Martham Ferry

taken 4 years ago, near to Martham, Norfolk, Great Britain

The new bridge at Martham Ferry
The new bridge at Martham Ferry
A boat is coming down the river and the bridge needs to open to let it pass. The water in the tank beneath it has been pumped out to elevate the bridge above the water and it is now in the process of being swung to one side. People are waiting on the other side for it to close again so that they can cross over.
Martham Ferry
The only access onto Heigham Holmes, an isolated marsh since 1987 owned by the National Trust, is via a floating bridge over the River Thurne. Before the first pontoon bridge was constructed in the 19th century, the river had to be crossed by boat.

The first "ferry" is described as having been a large raft which required three people to operate it. In 1926, the farmers who owned land on this man-made island decided to improve their access and on 7 September signed a document which declared that "Each proprietor shall forthwith on signing this agreement pay to an account to be called the Martham Holmes Floating Bridge Account a sum proportionate to his or her acreage of such amount as may be required to provide a floating caisson bridge with all necessary fittings, gear and appliances."

In 1987 a new bridge, operated by pulling on a chain, was constructed. Like the caisson bridge it replaced, it had to be left open so as not to obstruct river traffic and it was for this reason necessary to row back to the other side after crossing over, in a boat provided for this purpose, to re-open it, and then to row across the river once again before the journey could be resumed.

The latest incarnation is an automated floating bridge which was installed in 2012. It has a tank beneath it which is filled with water. The weight lowers it to the level of the road and it can now be crossed > LinkExternal link . To open it, the water is pumped out, the bridge rises > LinkExternal link - LinkExternal link and can then be swung sideways > LinkExternal link - to let boats pass >LinkExternal link - LinkExternal link - LinkExternal link - LinkExternal link .

For a view of the old bridge which dated from 1987 see > LinkExternal link.

Although there are no records of a commercial ferry ever having operated here this river crossing has always been known as Martham Ferry.
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TG4419, 113 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Sunday, 2 August, 2015   (more nearby)
Sunday, 2 August, 2015
Geographical Context
Rivers, Streams, Drainage 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 4451 1945 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:43.0445N 1:37.1343E
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 4453 1943
View Direction
Northwest (about 315 degrees)
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